Red flag law stalls in Michigan Legislature, Democrats push for more action

LANSING, Mich. – As the nation grieves the tragedy in Nashville, democratic lawmakers in Michigan are pointing to progress made in Lansing.

Before leaving for a 2-week spring break, the Michigan legislature made major headway on passing gun safety laws. That bill package includes safe storage, expanding background checks and red flag laws.

Senator Mallory McMorrow said the first two are as good as done. Just awaiting the governor’s signature.

But the third, having to do with red flag laws, will require more action from the Legislature once they return from break on April 11.

Red flag laws or extreme risk protection orders would allow family members and mental health professionals to petition for court orders to temporarily bar someone from owning or purchasing a firearm.

“We have seen that red flag laws are only as successful as there are buy-offs from law enforcement agencies and awareness about how to use them,” said McMorrow. “So we are just going through to make sure every detail is right before we pass the final version.”

Republicans have opposed the bills, arguing they would not have stopped the Michigan State University shooter.

Republican Senator Mike Webber said this on march 16: “I fear the bills before we make a lot of promises but will ultimately fall short of reducing gun violence in our state.”

McMorrow said red flag laws would have stopped the shooter in Nashville.

“We know that this shooter had family members who knew that this was an issue,” explained McMorrow. “That knew they were struggling with mental health issues who could have filed for an extreme risk protection order to ensure that they did not have firearms.”

We contacted Republicans for current comment today, but no one was available; as we mentioned, the Legislature is on break.

About the Author:

Jacqueline Francis is an award-winning journalist who joined the WDIV team in September 2022. Prior to Local 4, she reported for the NBC affiliate in West Michigan. When she’s not on the job, Jacqueline enjoys taking advantage of all the wonders Michigan has to offer, from ski trips up north to beach days with her dog, Ace.